The Bloomington Playwrights Project opens their new space at 107 W. 9th with Trista Baldwin's parody of male dominated biker movies. The play's title has gotten quite a bit of attention. "Chicks with…" evokes immature barnyard fowl and thirties detectives, but neither was in evidence. Baldwin's biker babes are far from mere motorcycle momas. You'll always see them in the drivers' seats and never just hanging, on the back.
The two competing girl gangs in the unlikely locale of Bedford are the Satans led by Anneliese Toft as Varla, and the Snakes captained by Lindsey Charles as Dixie. Ruth Hartke as Vespa D'Amour moves into the leadership of the Satans following an amazing transformation from local beauty pageant queen to black clad vixen. It's triggered by a rough pass from Alexander Gulk as her football playing boyfriend, on a prom date.
Things heat up when Alex Young as the innocent hometown girl, Cindi is first a pawn of the gangs and then an underground leader.
Filling out the gangs in "Chicks…"were Joanne Dubach as the perpetually wide eyed and occasionally eloquent Kitten, Amy Wendling as the mysteriously French accented Chantalle and DJ McCartney as the much dominated Joe. Joe is so used to domination that in one scene he's discovered licking his own boots.
Greeting theatre goers at the BPP were Echaka Agba, Justina Batchelor, Annie Kerkian and Amanda Smith as a foursome of outrageous and almost frighteningly friendly Go-Go Girls. They also handled minor stage chores and crowd scenes with endearing flamboyance.
There's plenty of action and more than a few surprises in this opener for the BPP's new space. Serious posturing, kicking, biting, hair pulling. There's even a final battle of the gang's leaders, with Vespa and Cindi having it out in a plastic swimming pool attacking one another with hand fulls of chocolate pudding
The BPP's Artistic Director Richard Perez is the director for Baldwin's play and he's come up with a nice balance between dramatic excesses and over-the-top farce throughout. The show is much aided by Ash Williams sound and music design. In this show, often what you get is what you hear.
The warmly receptive opening night audience hissed at villainy, cheered for victories and laughed at a good many other things.
Trista Baldwin's parody of biker movies "Chicks with…," is a mix of lollipop sweetness and leather clad raunch. It plays Thursday thru Saturday nights and in Sunday matinees in the Bloomington Playwrights Project's new theatre space on Ninth Street between College and Walnut through the 19th.
You can listen to an interview with director Richard Perezon on our Arts Interviews page .
Listen to WFIU's George Walker's interview with Trista Baldwin before the BPP's production of the "Chicks" sequel.